How Not to Stop
Pa came to collect us from school
in his white Valiant, the stern drive home.
Pa sat at the head of the table,
not talking at supper.
Pa stood in the driveway
with his back to us, throwing
seed into the wind with quick slings
of the hand, drawing the pigeons
as though he'd called them.
Pa carved his own domino set;
on weekend games sly as chess, slapped
the final piece on the wood table.
Pa drove us home past the house
he built, from which his family was removed
in 1968, never looking again
in its direction.
Pa bought his leaf tea and hard cheddar
from Queen Bess supermarket and bread
at Protea bakery, the same shops
down the street from their old house.
Pa rehearsed how not to stop, not to get out
and walk to the front door he had made.